AIA: Facilitating Strategic Planning

Case Study
August 7, 2023


The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is one of the most respected associations in the world, having represented the interests of architects for over 150 years.

But as the industry changed, the AIA realized it had to change as well. Refocusing its strategic plan would broaden its appeal to new audiences beyond traditional architecture firms, focus its impact on the issues its members care about most, and bring those changes to life in a new and vibrant mission statement.

That’s where Brand Federation came in.

Our Approach

Partnering with AIA’s national leadership, we created excitement for the process of revisiting the strategic plan by presenting a considered look at how the world had changed since the AIA’s founding and why the time was right for a refreshed and re-energized AIA. 

Over the next couple of months, we helped draft new language for the organization’s strategic focus, laying out a refreshed vision and mission statement and identifying those issues the AIA’s leadership was most passionate about, along with a strategic framework to guide the development of a plan to address them.

Brand Federation and the AIA leadership then used the AIA’s national convention to bring together architects and designers from around the country in listening sessions designed to engage members in drafting AIA’s new strategy. The process deepened members’ engagement in the process and created buy-in and excitement for the new direction. It resulted in a set of guiding principles and language that the entire membership could rally around.


Using the foundation built during the convention, we worked with AIA leadership to finalize a new strategic plan and mission for the organization. The outcome was a new vision for one of the most venerable associations in America — one that re-invigorated current members, invited participation from groups that hadn’t been involved in the past, and focused the AIA’s efforts where they can have meaningful and dramatic impact.

At the end of the process, the AIA felt more vibrant, more inclusive, and more impactful. And was positioned to offer even more value to its members.

Read the AIA’s Strategic Plan.


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